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Desperate to help her, Nicholas consults a doctor (played by Gondry himself) who informs them that she has a flower growing in her lungs.The only cure for her bizarre affliction is to surround her with a never­ending supply of fresh flowers, and Nicolas soon goes broke providing them for her.

Undoubtedly, there are those who would find such an ending unsurprising or even fitting—that is, if they remember Carax at all.

But there are still others who hope that his brief, but brilliant career will keep smoking, drawing on the enormous well of talent that produced his first two beautiful, energetic films ( offers an addendum to the story of Carax, if not (yet) a resurrection.

In its unhurried first half, “Microbe and Gasoline” seems content to serve as mere character portrait, distinguishing itself from the thousands of other teen pics by acknowledging the fundamental awkwardness of adolescence.

Gondry sketches an honest impression of youth where Microbe’s crush, a classmate named Laura (Diane Besnier), isn’t some jailbait bombshell, but rather an equally uncomfortable young woman with braces, and where a sincere act of friendship at a particularly vulnerable moment (such as the supportive way Gasoline handles Microbe’s deserted gallery opening) can cement one’s self-confidence for life.

What emerges is an admittedly small but wonderfully sincere portrait of two adolescent outsiders determined to pave their own way in the world.

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